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A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE FOR THE REBIRTH OF DOWNTOWN KINGSTON!

First Global Bank employee Roxanne Barnard assists client Earl Brown at the newly opened financial centre at the corner of Duke and Harbour streets, downtown Kingston.
First Global Bank employee Roxanne Barnard assists client Earl Brown at the newly opened financial centre at the corner of Duke and Harbour streets, downtown Kingston.

Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter

GRACEKENNEDY IS confident that the planned rebirth of downtown Kingston will take place this time around, despite the many starts and stops over the years.

That confidence has tempted the company to spend more than J$100 million to establish a full-service financial centre in the heart of the city.

“We are here for the long haul. We are going to be putting down deep roots,” Courtney Campbell, chief executive officer of the GraceKennedy Financial Group, told The Gleaner before yesterday’s opening of the new financial centre.

The remodelled building at the corner of Duke and Harbour streets houses branches of First Global Bank, First Global Financial Services and Jamaica International Insurance Company.

“Under one roof, we have integrated financial services properly delineated to accommodate our regulatory commitments,” said Campbell.

“Customers in downtown Kingston and its environs, including persons who live here and who do business here, will have access to the full range of services offered by the three entities,” noted Campbell.

Easy decision

He said, before yesterday, persons would have to travel from downtown Kingston to areas such as New Kingston to do business with the GraceKennedy financial entities.

But with the expected rebirth of downtown Kingston, Campbell said the decision to set up shop in the area was an easy one for the company.

“We are confident in the future of downtown and we believe that in another two or three years the level of business activity will be even higher than it is now, and we want to be part of that growth and help to facilitate that growth,” said Campbell.

“We have done our market surveys, we have done our research and we believe that existing businesses here want to expand or retool, and we have been in discussion with several business operators who plan to establish new businesses downtown.”

According to Campbell, there are several entities which are considering establishing their head offices in downtown Kingston.

“One of our strategies is that we want to create and deliver new products, value-added services and convenient channels. We believe, if we do that, it will enhance the experience of people doing business with us.”

The Government, through the Urban Development Corporation, is offering financial and other incentives to entities opening new businesses in downtown Kingston, but Campbell said that was not a major consideration for GraceKennedy.

“Clearly it was taken into consideration, but there was a strong business case for setting up shop here.

Campbell noted that GraceKennedy has operated its head office in downtown Kingston for the last 90 years and considers itself a full part of the downtown family.

 

 

 

 

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